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A day with the Ducati Panigale and a Melbourne bike Courier

December 8th, 2008
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When the guys from PressPortal asked me to road test the Ducati Panigale, I was a little hesitant to work on such a classy bike. However I was interested to see how it would hold up on the streets of Melbourne. As I’m a bike courier I’m used to riding some beat’n up bikes and treating them pretty poorly… This would be an interesting day.

I started my test ride down St Kilda road on a south set, clicking through the gears, trying to get the chain to crunch, but failed miserably. When out of the saddle or sitting down, the gear shifting was precise and most importantly, smooth. No matter how hard I tried, the gears would not skip or crunch.

I rode the bike hard, taking it down stairs, off and up gutters and not once did the chain slip or bounce vigorously. I thought the chain would slip off the front ring, but it didn’t. I also found the 8 speed internal hub changer to be really quiet when freewheeling and peddling at high speeds.

Ducati Panigale

Once back in the city, bike handling and breaking would be tested thoroughly. Riding through unpredictable traffic and dodging pedestrians, calls for precise steering. The Ducati's integrated headset gave me nothing but smooth steering for a mid range product. Some extra riding time would’ve allowed me to fully adjust, creating greater confidence with steering in those close moments. Considering the style of this bike, the headset is suffice.

Braking was a pleasure, in fact a little too good. At one point a taxi pulled out in front of me and I nearly went over the bars. I was also pleased to note that the disks did not squeak, as so many do.

There was no doubt that the Panigale turned heads everywhere I locked up. I caught wondering eyes fixated on the hot red paint job and to their surprise, Ducati decals on the frame. The unique angles made the frame look like it was a fun bike to ride. The lowered rear stays also gave the rear wheel an exposed appearance, creating a distinctive look.. This is liked.

Ducati Panigale

When catching up with bike couriers, they were quick to judge this sleek machine. Many were impressed by the frame design but it was the ‘made in Italy’ label that set it apart from any other street bike/cruisers they‘d seen around town.

The Panigale’s laid back style made it ideal for cruising and would be a pleasure to ride any where. I could feel people wanting to stop and talk about the panigale, but I had jobs to kill and coin to make.

This bike would be great for flashy commuters and especially those weekend rides to the local coffee shop. I did love the Ducati Panigale but I could not make a decent wage riding it as a work bike, I’d have to treat it too good.

Cheers # 702  Chris

Read the full review on the Ducati Panigale

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